BAILLOT, PIERRE MARIE FRANCOISDE SALES


(b. Pas sy, near Paris, Oct. 1, 1771 ; d. Paris, Sept. 15, 1842), takes a prominent place among the great French violin-players. His fa the r k ep t a school a t Passy. He showed very early remarkable musical ta len t, and got his first ins truction on the violin from an I ta l ian named Polidori. In 1780 Sainte- Marie, a French violinist, became his teacher, and by his severe ta s te and methodical in s tru c tion gave him the first tra ining in those artistic qualities by which Baillot’s playing was a f te r wards so much distinguished. When ten years of age, he heard Viotti play one of his concertos. His performance filled the boy with intense admiration, an d although for 20 years he had no second o p p o r tu n ity of hearing him, he often related later in life, how from th a t d ay Viotti remained for him the model of a violin-player, and his style the ideal to be realised in his own studies. After the loss of his fa the r in 1783, a Mons. de Boucheporn, a high Government official, sent him, with his own children, to Rome, where he was placed u nder the tuition of the violin-player Pollani, a pupil of Nardini. We find him during the n e x t five years living with his benefactor a lte rn a te ly a t Pau, Bayonne and other places in the south of France, acting as his p r iv a te secretary, and devoting b u t little time to his violin. In 1791 he came to Paris, determined to rely for the fu tu re on his musical talent. Viotti procured him a place in the band of the T he a tre Feydeau, b u t Baillot very soon resigned it, in order to accept an ap p o in t men t in the Ministere des Finances, which he k ep t for some years, devoting merely his leisure hours to music an d violin – playing. After having been obliged to join the army for 20 months, he re tu rn ed , in 1795, to Paris, and, as Fetis relates, became accidentally a cquainted with the violin compositions of Corelli, Tartini, Geminiani, Locatelli, Bach (?) and Handel. The s tu d y of the works of these great masters filled him with fresh enthus ia sm, and he once more determined to tak e u p music as his profession. He studied theory u nder Catel, R eicha an d Cherubini, and soon made his appearance in public with a concerto of Viotti, an d with such success th a t his rep u ta tio n was a t once established, and a professorship of violin-playing was given him a t the newly opened Conservatoire. In 1802 he entered Napoleon’s pr ivate band, a n d af terwards travelled for 3 years in Russia (1805-08) together with the violoncello-player Lamare, earning both fame an d money. In 1814 he s ta r te d concerts for chamber music in Paris, which met with g re a t success, an d acquired him the rep u ta tio n of an unrivalled qua r te t-p lay e r . I n 1815 an d 1816 he travelled in Holland, Belgium a n d England, where he performed a t the Philharmonic conce r t of Feb. 26, 1816, an d af terwards became an ordinary member of the Society. From 1821- 1831 he was leader of the band a t the O p e r a ; from 1825 he filled the same place in the Royal Band ; in 1833 he made a final to u r through Switzerland and p a r t of I ta ly , working to the end with unremitting freshness. He was the las t repre sentative of the great classical Paris school of violin-playing. After him the influence of Paganini’s style became p a ram o u n t in France. His playing was dis t inguished by a noble, powerful tone, great neatness of execution, an d a pure, elevated, tru ly musical style. An excellent solo-player, he was unrivalled in Paris as in te rp re te r of the best classical chamber music. Mendelssohn and Hiller both speak in the highest terms of praise of Baillot as a quar tet-playe r. An interesting account of some of his personal t ra i ts will be found in a le tte r of the former, published in Goethe and Mendelssohn (1872). Although his compositions are almost entirely forgotten, his A rt du violon (1834) still maintains its place as a s ta n d a rd work. He also took a prominent p a r t with Rode and Kreu tz e r in compiling and editing the Methode de violon, and a similar work for the violoncello. His o b itu a ry notices of Gretry (Paris, 1814) an d Viotti (1825), and other occasional writings, show remarkable critical power an d g re a t elegance of style. His published musical compositions are : 15 trios for 2 vlns. and baas; 6 duos for 2 vlns. ; 12 dtudes fur vln. ; 9 conc er tos; syuiphonie cou c er tan te fur 2 vlns. with oreh. ; 30 airs varies; 3 s tr in g q u a r te ts ; 1 son ata for PF. and vln.; 24 prtHudes in all keys, an d a number of smaller pieces for vln. P. D

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